Sky Sports News understands Sunderland have turned to Tottenham Hotspur's Alan Hutton as Steve Bruce continues his search for a new right-back.
Bruce has made improving his back-line a priority during the transfer window and has already added centre-half Matt Kilgallon to his squad from Sheffield United.
A right-back is also on Bruce's radar, with Burnley having rejected reports that talks are being held over a deal for Tyrone Mears.
Aston Villa's former Newcastle United stopper Habib Beye is another target for Bruce, with the Black Cats boss also understood to have revived his interest in Hutton.
A loan swap deal involving Anton Ferdinand was mooted during the summer transfer window, but failed to materialise before that deadline.
However, Bruce may be hoping that the January window closes with Hutton on Wearside as a Sunderland player after he was previously linked with West Ham United.
Hutton has struggled to make an impact at White Hart Lane since his £9million move from Rangers two years ago and has been hampered by injury.
The Scotland international has started just one game in the Premier League this season and is now being lined up by Sunderland as Bruce seeks to arrest his team's slump in form.
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn later confirmed to Sky Sports News that a deal for Hutton is something the club are pursuing.